2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Scholarships Help TC to Enroll the 'Best and Brightest'

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Scholarships Help TC to Enroll the

(Left to right) Dawn Hering, Darrell Hucks and Uzma Shah

Like many others considering education careers, Dawn Hering, Uzma Shah and Darrell Hucks asked themselves before applying to graduate schools of education, "How am I going to pay for this?"

"I want to teach and be in the classroom," said incoming student Dawn Hering who is enrolled in the special education program. "If I can teach in New York City schools, I can do anything."

Hering won a scholarship from The Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women (JFEW) through Enrollment Services. This scholarship covers most of her tuition with the condition that she will teach in New York City Schools for three years after her graduation.

Studying at Teachers College will help her make the "big leap into special education" that she is eagerly anticipating. Hering, who studied philosophy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said, "Even though I love philosophy, when it came time to decide where to go next, I turned to education because it's what I want to do most."

"This scholarship made it possible for me to come to a top-rated school to study special education," commented Hering.

"It really made all the difference in my life," she added. "It helped me realize that I could achieve my goals in a time when graduate school funding is hard to come by."

The Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women began in the late 19th century as waves of Jewish immigrants came to the Lower East Side of New York City. A group of community-minded women set up classes for the newly arrived immigrant girls to help them adjust to American life. These classes evolved from classes for immigrant girls, to a Hebrew Technical School for girls to direct financial aid to female students.

Wyoming native Uzma Shah, who also received the JFEW scholarship and will be graduating this year, is currently teaching environmental science at a high school. She said the scholarship is "a godsend because the science program here is better than at a lot of other schools." Shah particularly enjoys the diversity of the children in the public schools in the City. "In Wyoming, education is different-it's more diverse here-and being a child of Pakistani immigrants myself, I enjoy interacting with other cultures. I have two South Asians in my class right now that have latched on to me already."

Scholarships are one of the key priorities of The Campaign for Teachers College, with a $28.5 million earmarked for them out of the $140 million goal. Many TC students work full-time, have families, and make extraordinary sacrifices to receive TC degrees. In a profession that is likely to provide moderate financial benefits, TC does not want talented people to avoid education careers because of the prospect of debt in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Out of approximately 5,000 degree students at TC, 30 percent receive some form of scholarship aid and about 95 percent of these students are receiving aid in the form of six credits or less, said Christine L. Persico, Executive Director for Enrollment Services. "Many students must also obtain loans to finance their education. The average TC student graduates with a loan debt of $50-80,000."

"Even with the maximum loans from the government which is $18,500, there is still $8,500 in tuition left for students to cover-and that is without at least $20,000 for living expenses," Persico continued. "The tuition for a Masters degree for one year is about $27,000 and with living expenses, the total is around $47,000."

Nicholson Family Scholarship recipient Darrell Hucks graduated last year from the Curriculum and Teaching Department at TC, specializing in elementary and secondary education. He was already teaching when he enrolled in his program. "I was able to take everything I was learning right into the classroom. I could see things working and have dialogues with professors about what worked and what didn't."

He continued, "Having the Nicholson Family Scholarship-and not having that major financial concern hanging over me- made me focus on my studies rather than how I was going to pay for the next semester. It actually made me work harder because I was doing it for not only for me, but for Pat and Ron Nicholson, my parents, my friends, my family, and most of all my students!"

Hucks was in the fashion industry before he became a teacher in the fall of 1998. He first discovered his love of teaching while volunteered as a Literacy Partner. He then became a part of the Teachers for Tomorrow fellowship program which placed him at the school where he currently teaches. It was during this Fellowship program that he decided he wanted to "be the best teacher I could be." When he applied to TC and found out about the scholarship, "it was a dream come true."

"I loved being here at TC because it gave me the chance to think about what happens in the classroom and getting kids, parents and other teachers excited about learning," Hucks commented.

"My students would have been missing something and I would have been missing something if I didn't go to TC," said Hucks. "I see the growth in my former students and myself as well."

Elaine Yaniv, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, spoke about the College's outreach to alumni for scholarship assistance. "We are networking with alumni, many of whom may have benefited from scholarship assistance when they were here. For anyone considering a gift to Teachers College, this is one of the best ways to make a difference in aspiring teachers' lives."

For additional information on scholarships or other campaign priorities, please phone Joseph S. Brosnan, Vice President for Develeopment and External Affairs at 212-678-3755, or Elaine F. Yaniv, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at 212-678-3711.

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